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As it readies for the annual WINDPOWER 2014 Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas next week, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that 214 MW of installed capacity was energized during the first quarter of 2014.

While modest by 2010 and 2011 standards, AWEA reports that the 133 turbines installed during the first quarter tops the 1.6 MW installed for the first three quarters of 2013 - when uncertainty surrounding the federal wind production tax credit (PTC) kept project development to a minimum.

However, AWEA is looking forward and asserts that the first quarter of 2014 is the beginning of a production boom, as more than 13 GW of wind energy projects are under construction. AWEA notes that more wind power capacity is now under construction than at any time in the history of the U.S. wind industry.

The most wind capacity was installed in Michigan (136 MW), followed by Minnesota (48 MW), New Mexico (20 MW) and New York (10 MW).

Additionally, AWEA says that nearly 1 GW of new power purchase agreements (PPA) have been announced year-to-date, which builds upon the 8 GW of PPAs signed in 2013.

The wind industry is hoping that the surge in activity will resonate on Capitol Hill as the full Senate prepares to take up a tax extenders package, including the PTC.

"The U.S. wind industry has a busy few weeks ahead," said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan in a statement. "An extension of the PTC is essential to continuing the growth of U.S. wind energy, and we look forward to watching the full Senate take up the package soon."

Twenty-one states across the country are now seeing wind energy-related construction. The top states for construction activity include Texas (with more than 8 GW), Iowa (more than 1 GW), Kansas (700 MW), North Dakota (600 MW) and Oklahoma (nearly 500 MW).

The total installed wind capacity in the U.S. now stands at 61,327 MW and more than 46,000 wind turbines.


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